Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling Europe's biggest nuclear power plant and UN chief proposes a demilitarised zone at the site as fighting enters its 170th day.

A spokesperson for Ukraine's southern military command says Ukraine has nearly all of Russia's southern supply routes under
A spokesperson for Ukraine's southern military command says Ukraine has nearly all of Russia's southern supply routes under "fire control". (AP)

Friday, August 12, 2022

Ukraine says it can hit 'almost all' Russian supply lines in south

Ukraine's military has said its artillery hit a Russian ammunition depot near a key bridge in the south and added it now had the ability to strike nearly all of Moscow's supply lines in the occupied region.

The military said the attack killed 11 Russian soldiers in the depot in the village of Vesele, about 130 km down the vast Dnipro river from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

There was no immediate comment from Russian authorities on the report of the attack in Kherson province or the purported reach of Ukraine's firepower. The reports were not independently confirmed. 

Ukraine's first wheat shipment bound for Africa

The first wheat shipment out of Ukraine since the conflict with Russia broke out is bound for Africa to support the region as it grapples with severe drought, the UN has said.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that the cargo vessel Brave Commander, cleared under a deal brokered by Türkiye and the UN, departed from Istanbul on Wednesday after an inspection.

The ship is setting sail for the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti with the wheat set to go to the World Food Program's operations in Ethiopia to support its drought response efforts as the threat of famine stalks the region.

Russian strike kills two civilians in Ukraine’s Kramatorsk: governor

Russian shelling killed two civilians and wounded 13 others in Ukraine's Kramatorsk, the last major city under Ukrainian control in the eastern Donetsk region, the governor said.

"New attack on Kramatorsk... two civilians dead and 13 wounded," said regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. "The bombardment has damaged at least 20 buildings and a fire has broken out."

Pentagon says US weapons not used to attack Crimea airbase

The US Defense Department said American-supplied weapons were not used to attack a Russian airbase in Crimea and that it did not know the cause of the devastating explosions at the site.

Ukrainian forces are believed to be behind the multiple explosions on Tuesday at the Saki base in Russian-occupied Crimea, which damaged or destroyed some eight aircraft, as well as ammunition stockpiles.

No one has officially claimed responsibility and it remained unclear Friday exactly what caused the explosions at the base, a major staging point for Russia's offensive against Ukraine. 

EU hails Istanbul deal for enabling UN humanitarian grain shipment

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has commended a recent deal signed in Istanbul enabling Ukraine to ship grain for the UN's World Food Programme (WFP).

"Thanks to the Istanbul agreement, Ukraine is again able to deliver grain to the WFP," Borrell said on Twitter.

He hailed the UN shipment of 23,000 tonnes of Ukrainian products to the Horn of Africa, which was the first humanitarian cargo that set sail since the accord was signed on July 22 between Türkiye, the UN, Ukraine and Russia.

Ukraine calls UN, Red Cross to Russian POW camps

Ukraine's security agencies have issued a joint statement calling for the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to send representatives to locations where Russia is holding Ukrainian prisoners.

The request follows earlier allegations by Kiev that Moscow's forces have tortured and executed prisoners, including by staging an explosion in a Ukrainian POW camp in Olenivka.

Moscow claims Ukraine shelled the facility, killing over 50 POWs.

Ukrainian army claims to have killed over 43,000 Russian troops

The Ukrainian army has claimed that it had killed over 43,000 Russian troops since the conflict began in February of this year and that Russian forces suffered the most casualties on Thursday in the war-torn country's eastern Donetsk region.

Ukrainian forces have destroyed 233 Russian planes, 193 helicopters, 1,849 tanks, 4,108 armored vehicles, 778 unmanned aerial vehicles, 3,021 vehicles and fuel tanks and 15 warships/boats, according to the latest update on the social media platform.

 It added that 975 artillery systems, 261 multiple rocket launcher systems, 136 anti-aircraft warfare systems, as well as 90 special equipment, were destroyed.

China calls on Russia, Ukraine to resume negotiations

China has called on both Russia and Ukraine to resume negotiations and expressed concerns over the safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

“We call on all parties concerned to resume negotiations as early as possible, seek a solution to the Ukraine crisis in a cool-headed and rational fashion, address each other’s legitimate security concerns and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, so as to achieve common security,” Zhang Jun, the Chinese ambassador to the UN, told the UN Security Council.

“Only by defusing the situation and restoring peace at an early date, can we fundamentally remove nuclear risks, reduce misjudgment and avoid accidents,” Zhang said, after receiving a briefing from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi on recent attacks on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Britain: Crimea blasts degrade Russia’s Black Sea aviation fleet

Blasts this week at the Moscow-operated Saky military airfield in the west of Russian-annexed Crimea led to the loss of eight Russian combat jets, degrading its navy's Black Sea aviation fleet, Britain has said.

While the damaged jets are only a fraction of the overall aviation fleet, Britain said Black Sea capability would be affected, since Saky is used as a primary operational base.

The base airfield probably remained operational, but its dispersal area had suffered serious damage, Britain's defence ministry added in a regular intelligence bulletin on Twitter.

The explosions, which Russia has said killed one and injured five, will prompt its military to revise the threat perception in the region, the ministry added.

EU gas flows via Nord Stream and Ukraine remain steady

Russian gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline and via Ukraine remained steady, operator data showed.

Physical flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany were at 14,575,401 kilowatt hours per hour (kWh/h) for 0800-0900 CET, similar to the previous 24 hours. Russia cut flows on the pipeline to only 20% of capacity on July 27, citing maintenance work.

Nominations for Russian gas flows into Slovakia from Ukraine via the Velke Kapusany border point were at about 36.5 million cubic metres (mcm) per day, little changed from the previous day, data from the Ukrainian system operator showed.

Eastbound gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline to Poland from Germany were up from the previous day, data from operator Gascade showed.

EU presidency mulls visa ban for all Russians

The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency, has said that a blanket ban on visas for all Russian travellers could be the bloc's next sanction on Moscow. The EU has so far come up with six sanction packages against Russia.

"The flat halting of Russian visas by all EU member states could be another very effective sanction," Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement obtained by AFP news agency.

He said he would propose the idea at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague at the end of August. "In a time of Russian aggression, which the Kremlin keeps on escalating, there cannot be talks about common tourism for Russian citizens," said Lipavsky.

Bucha buries unidentified victims killed during Russian attacks

Eleven coffins draped in purple cloth line freshly dug graves in the last row of Bucha's cemetery. Inside rest nine men and two women who were killed during Russia's offensive in the Kiev suburb in March.

Almost all the dead had been hastily buried in mass graves by local residents as the fierce fighting left them with no other choice. One body was found later after the Russian withdrawal from the region.

More than four months civilian corpses were discovered in Bucha on April 2, the local authorities have started burying the dead that no one has claimed.

Russia says US-made radar system destroyed, HIMARS missiles downed

Russia's Defence Ministry says it has destroyed a US-made AN/MPQ-64 radar system in Ukraine's Donetsk region. In its daily briefing, the ministry also said it had shot down two US-made HIMARS missiles.

IAEA head seeks to visit Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said he is seeking to visit Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant amid fresh shelling of its compound.

Rafael Grossi told the UN Security Council that there was no immediate threat to the safety of the nuclear site based on a preliminary assessment but warned that this could change at any moment.

Europe's largest nuclear site has been shelled several times, raising concerns about a nuclear disaster.

Grossi said he was ready to lead a team of experts to assess the physical damage to the facility. ''The IAEA must be allowed to conduct its mission as soon as possible."

Ukraine seeks control of nuclear plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has demanded Russia return Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to Ukraine's control.

"Only a full withdrawal of the Russians ... and the restoration of full Ukrainian control of the situation around the station can guarantee a resumption of nuclear security for all of Europe," he said in a video address.

France echoed Zelenskiyy's demand and said Russia's occupation of the site endangered the world.

"The presence and actions of the Russian armed forces near the plant significantly increase the risk of an accident with potentially devastating consequences," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

For live updates from Thursday (August 11), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies